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Old 11-15-2019, 10:39 AM   #1
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Default Abusive Father

Hi everyone. Iím 41 years old and I have 3 children. I was raised by an alcoholic father who was physically abusive to my mother and emotionally abusive to us both. I grew up in a very scary and violent home. My Mom was very disconnected, depressed and still has an eating disorder. I am the only child, so I was pretty much on my own.

Three years ago my mother finally left my father. He lives in New York State. I live in Virginia. My mom came here to live. She stayed with us, until about6 months ago.

My dad never calls me. He will occasionally send gifts for his grand kids. But he never calls. Even before my Mom left him. He wonít ever come visit. Heís never really acted like a dad to me. Even when I was a child. He never spent time with me, or showed any interest in my life. I keep it cordial, but I gave up trying a long time ago. We will occasionally text, but I usually initiate, unless he wants or needs something.

When my mom was still with him, I would go home to visit and bring my children. I would stay there, because it meant so much to my Mom. He quit drinking when I was in college, but he was and is still very mean and short tempered. I never felt comfortable staying there, but my mom would make me feel so guilty and cry. Then my Dad would get angry and yell at me over the phone, so I would stay there to keep the peace. I remember my youngest was a baby And woke up crying in the night. I was trying to sooth him and it woke my Dad up. I heard him screaming and cussing how it was ******** he was being woken up. It immediately sparked flash backs, fear and anxiety in me. When I was a child I had to be very careful to not make noise, cry or laugh too loud because he would become very angry.

So now that my mom has left, the only time he contacts me is when he canít get ahold of her. He calls her more then he calls me. Honestly the only time he has called me is when he was angry about something. He doesnít admit to any of the abuse during my childhood. My mom doesnít admit remembering a lot of it either. Which leaves me feeling like Iím crazy.

So over Thanksgiving I want to bring the kids home to see my family. My Grandmother (his mother) and my aunts, uncles and friends. Heís guilting me because I want to get a hotel. He is having my Grandmother call me saying ďYour Dad says he never hears from you, and it would be important to him for you to stay with himĒ. I feel like he would be miserable with 3 young and excited kids making noise. Plus his house is small and there isnít a lot of room. Iím happy to visit, but I just donít feel comfortable. I donít think my Grandmother knows the extent of the abuse, or she chooses to discredit it. I donít feel itís important to tell her. I honestly think that she knows. Her and my Grandfather raised me more then my parents did, and I remember them asking me if things were ok at home. So I know that they knew. Iím very close to my Grandma, but I find myself avoiding her calls because I know heís playing the victim and sheís falling for it. Heís using this to make me look like the bad daughter, who treats her father poorly. I work full time and have 3 kids and a hubby. He can easily pick up the phone and call.

The whole thing is so confusing. Even my motherís behavior. If she gets mad at me she says sheís going back to her abusive husband because of me. Itís all so toxic and weird. I guess I just need confirmation that Iím not being rude. I still will visit and give him ďsupervisedĒ time with his grandkids. But I want it to be neutral ground. And an easy out if things go south. Anyone else have a similar experience?

Thank you for reading!
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Old 11-16-2019, 01:23 PM   #2
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Hello Kelly: Thank you for bringing your concern here to PC. I see this is your first post. So... welcome to Psych Central. Two additional forums, here on PC, that may be of interest to you would be the Relationships & Communication forum & the Healthy Parenting forum. Here are links to these forums just in case you haven't already found them:

I'm sorry you find yourself in the midst of this difficult dilemma. I don't know as there is a lot I can say about it other than to say that, at least from my perspective, what you're doing sounds perfectly reasonable. To me, your first responsibility is to your children. And if other members of your extended family can't understand that & support you in your position then I, at least, would feel it is they who should suffer the consequences to whatever extent there are any. Still... I do understand how difficult this must be for you.

Here are links to 10 articles from Psych Central's archives. The first 4 discuss the effects of growing up with an alcoholic parent. The remaining 6 are on the subject of personal boundaries:

You Don't Outgrow the Effects of an Alcoholic Parent | Happily Imperfect

You Don't Get a Childhood When You Grow Up in an Alcoholic Family | Happily Imperfect

Adult Children of Alcoholics and the Need to Feel In Control | Happily Imperfect

I hope you find PC to be of benefit.
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Old 11-16-2019, 03:02 PM   #3
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Thank you so much!!
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Old 11-18-2019, 03:40 PM   #4
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((Kelly)), I am sorry you grew up with an alcoholic father that was abusive to your mother and witnessing that relationship caused you to feel so unsafe in your own home. Your father will probably never be able to apologize for how badly he behaved, not unless he spent time in AA meetings and spent time in therapy too.

YES, this can most definitely leave some deep hurts like you are sharing. It's good to learn your mother finally left him, yet that doesn't mean your mother will suddenly be all better. Trauma from this kind of abuse can take years to sort through and for some healing to take place. Yet, no one can change the damage it has caused completely.
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Old 11-20-2019, 05:54 PM   #5
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